Wednesday, May 4, 2016


By Angela Ruth Strong

As a writer, I create conflict all the time. I just don’t like it in my own life. In fact, I hate it.

I want to be liked. I want to be agreed with. I don’t want to do anything wrong. I want to make people happy. But I can’t always do this. Sometimes people don’t like me. Sometimes they disagree with me. Sometimes they hate me. Sometimes they lie about me.

The problem isn’t that this happens to me—this happens to everyone. The problem is how I handle it. I get angry. I get scared. I start to believe the lies. And out of my fear of being a failure or fear of being unloved, I often react in a way that makes the whole situation worse.

I’m learning about this through a book called The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. Author Leslie Vernick describes my reaction as having “a fearful heart.” She says having heart issues is like having sediment at the bottom of a jar of water. The water looks clear until you shake it.

This makes sense to me. I’m not normally a fearful person. I’m pretty peaceful and joyful…until confronted with conflict. Then my heart issues rise up and muddy everything.

After reading Leslie’s book I realized that in my latest novel, Finding Love in Big Sky, I’ve given my heroine the exact same heart issue I have. Paisley is afraid to love Josh because of issues in her past that give her the belief she won’t ever be enough for him. Of course she overcomes, and I’d like to think that I will too.

Understanding these different heart issues has been huge for me. And I think it will be huge for my writing. I want to share them here in case any of you are interested in creating better conflict for your characters or to better handle conflict in your own life.
  1. The Proud Heart
  2. The Angry Heart
  3. The Envious Heart
  4. The Selfish Heart
  5. The Evil Heart
  6. The Fearful Heart

Most of these are self-explanatory, but if you want a better understanding of what each means or how
to interact with people who have hearts like this, check out Leslie’s book. (And also the Bible.)

I knew characters needed to be flawed so they have room to grow, but in real life, it was hard to see my own flaws. Even someone with an “evil heart” thinks he’s a good person. Leslie explains in her book, “Evil people want to look good to others; they also want to appear good in their own eyes so that the pangs of healthy shame and self-reproach do not penetrate their hearts.”

There is most certainly evil in this world, and good stories are not about avoiding evil but overcoming evil. So whether you are a writer or not, God is the Author of Life, and he’s allowed conflict so you can have your own amazing story of overcoming.

As a writer, I create a lot of conflict. As a protagonist, I’m learning how to create healthy conflict. 


Actress Emily Van Arsdale has returned to her Idaho hometown - with an entire film crew in tow! With its stunning scenery and reputation for hosting celebrities, Sun Valley is the perfect setting for Emily’s newest romantic comedy. Tracen Lake is happy to work as a stunt consultant for the movie but not as thrilled to deal with a bunch of high-maintenance Hollywood types. But Tracen is surprised to discover in Emily a down-to-earth Idaho girl who does all her own stunts and loves the outdoors. As filming wraps up and Emily heads off to her next gig, will she be able to leave Sun Valley - and Tracen - behind?


Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book (read the story HERE), she's decided to rerelease it and write sequels as a new series titled Resort to Love. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors, and she's excited to announce the sale of her first romantic suspense novel to Love Inspired Suspense. For the latest news or to contact Angela, visit


  1. You've touched on issues so common to the human condition. Congratulations, Angela, on your book and movie potential!

  2. Thank you, Eileen. The darker the black moment, the more powerful the resolution. So when my life is falling apart and THEN I get a flat tire, I just shake my fist at heaven and say, "I'm onto you." ;-)